Fitness Hacks 101

By Tia Norris, June 2017 Issue of Echo Magazine in Phoenix, AZ.

Once again, pool season is upon us. And no matter where you’re at on your health and fitness journey or what your summer plans entail, you want to look your best when the opportunity to soaking up the sun presents itself.

While I always recommend consulting a health and fitness professional to discuss what type of workout program and diet is right for you, last-minute efforts to look and feel your best run rampant during pool season.

Instead of taking risky shortcuts this summer, try some of these trainer-approved diet hacks (arranged by desired outcomes).

If you seek general well-being:
• HYDRATE. No one drinks enough water! Active adults (especially in Arizona) need 100 ounces of water per day. Every single part of your body will work better if properly hydrated. There’s no way around this one.

• Chug cold water first thing in the morning. This is one of my favorite hacks. Within minutes of waking up, I’ve already had 20 ounces of ice cold water. This has been scientifically proven to jumpstart metabolism and burn calories.

• Buy pre-cut and pre-seasoned foods to prep. Lezbehonest, we are all busy af and you can save hours chopping, seasoning, marinating and more by buying your food prepped and ready to go. Think about what you eat most frequently and I guarantee there’s a shortcut out there.

• Eat what’s most important first. Of course you’d much rather eat the French fries than the kale salad. But, if you fill up on b.s. before eating what’s most nutritious, you’re not going to get to the most important part of the meal.

• Have dry, non-refrigerated options– bars, beef jerky, protein powder, nuts, etc. – in your gym bag, in your purse, in your desk, at your house at all times. No matter how prepared you think you are, life will always throw curveballs at you and the last thing you want to get stuck somewhere hangry without a backup plan.

If you seek weight loss:
• Eat before you eat. Eat a handful of almonds, or a protein shake or something else clean before you go out to eat. You’ll be less tempted.

• Caffeine is your friend! Caffeine is a top-notch fat burner and appetite suppressant, when used in moderation. Go for it!

• Don’t buy garbage if it will tempt you. If you don’t have it in the house, you most likely won’t be able to eat it.

• If you’re cutting carbs, bread is the first thing that needs to go. Instead, get creative: try bagel thins, open-faced sandwiches, lettuce wraps, etc., to stay on track with a low-carb goal.

• Switch butter and cheese for such lower-calorie alternatives as avocado, egg whites or Greek yogurt – especially if you’re a texture person.

If you seek muscle gain:

• Eat your biggest meal post-workout – this is when your muscles are most receptive to nutrient uptake. But don’t wait longer than an hour after a workout to eat.

• Add extra olive oil to all meals, smoothies, anything you can stand. Olive oil is virtually tasteless, but huge on calories. Pour it on!

• Set calorie goals by times of the day. Apportion your calories to the hours in the day, so you know how much you need to eat by each hour or each set of hours.

• Unless you’re a pro, you must go dirty, 95 percent of muscle gain clients cannot do a clean bulk! Go dirty, which means anything goes: pizza, ice cream, fast food, whatever! Just eat those calories and get big now, so you can cut the fat later.

Of course, you won’t get very far with these hacks unless you’re already on a solid exercise program with other good dietary foundations. But if you’re looking for a few quick tips or shortcuts, toss in a few of these tried and true tricks!

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